Think-tank warns that Undersea Cables are a neglected area of critical infrastructure protection

Published: Tuesday, 05 December 2017 10:17

The UK must do more to protect the indispensable, yet insecure Internet infrastructure provided by undersea cables, urges Rishi Sunak MP in a new report published by Policy Exchange.

The report ‘Undersea Cables: Indispensable, insecure’ says that 97 percent of global communications and $10 trillion in daily financial transactions are transmitted through cables lying deep beneath the ocean. Undersea cables are the indispensable infrastructure of our time, essential to our modern life and digital economy, yet they are inadequately protected and highly vulnerable to attack at sea and on land, from both hostile states and terrorists.

US intelligence officials have spoken of Russian submarines ‘aggressively operating’ near Atlantic cables as part of its broader interest in unconventional methods of warfare. When Russia annexed Crimea, one of its first moves was to sever the main cable connection to the outside world.
Undersea cables come ashore in just a few remote, coastal locations. These landing sites are critical national infrastructure but often have minimal protection, making them vulnerable to terrorism.

The report recommends that:

Read the report (PDF).